Opposition Demands Inquiry Into Incursions

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Opposition Demands Inquiry Into Incursions

The main opposition Grand National Party escalated the war of words over recent developments in inter-Korean relations Monday when it demanded a parliamentary inspection into a possible secret agreement between Seoul and Pyongyang.

The party said that it would also submit a proposal to dismiss Unification Minister Lim Dong-won and Defense Minister Kim Dong-shin over the unprecedented passage of North Korean commercial ships through southern territorial waters.

Opposition leader Lee Hoi-chang, on the first anniversary of the June 15 South-North summit said that inter-Korean reconciliation efforts in the past year have failed. "It boggles my mind to hear President Kim Dae-jung saying that the military responded well to the violation of the Northern Limit Line," said Mr. Lee.

He was referring to the crossing by North Korean commercial vessels of the U.N.-designated maritime border between the two Koreas.

Park Joon-young, the presidential spokesman, countered by saying that Mr. Lee's comments must lead people to "seriously doubt his leadership qualities and insight."

Opposition spokesman Kwon Chul-hyun, however, said that the most important thing right now is to determine whether or not Mr. Kim made an agreement that undermines the nation's security.

Political insiders said that the opposition attack on the Kim Dae-jung administration was provoked by a Defense Security Command investigation into how an opposition lawmaker, Park Se-hwan, had obtained a transcript of radio communications between the North Korean ships and the South Korean Navy. The Defense Security Command is the military's internal investigation unit.

Mr. Park arrived at the National Assembly's Defense Committee on Thursday with a copy of the transcript, and suggested that a back-room deal had been made between Seoul and Pyongyang in the weeks leading up to the first anniversary of the South-North Summit. Defense investigators have summoned his aide for questioning.



by Kim Jin-kook

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